Model says she had an affair with Woody Allen when she was 16 — but has 'no regrets'

Model Christina Engelhardt told the Hollywood Reporter she had an affair with Woody Allen when she was 16 and he was 41, and 'I have no regrets.'
Image: Woody Allen at Cannes in 2016
Director Woody Allen poses for photographers Cannes international film festival in 2016.Thibault Camus / AP file

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By Dareh Gregorian

A California woman says she had a years-long affair with director Woody Allen that began when she was just 16 and he was 41.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Christina Engelhardt said she became intimate with Allen at his Manhattan apartment while she was still 16 — under the legal age of consent in New York — but she doesn’t feel victimized by the movie maker.

"I'm not attacking Woody," Engelhardt, now 59, told the magazine in an interview published Monday. "This is not 'bring down this man.' I'm talking about my love story. This made me who I am. I have no regrets."

She said they were together for eight years, and sometimes engaged in threesomes with other women, including actress Mia Farrow. She said she found the experiences “interesting — a ‘70s exploration.”

Engelhardt, an actress and a model, said she was one of the inspirations for the teenage character Allen's writer character had an affair with in his 1979 movie “Manhattan.”

Reps for Allen, 83, and Farrow, 73, did not respond to requests for comment.

Engelhardt isn’t the first woman to say she had an affair with Allen while in high school during that time frame — actress Stacy Nelkin has said she did as well, but that their relationship began when she was 17.

Nelkin, whom Allen has acknowledged dating, has also claimed to be the inspiration for the Mariel Hemingway character in “Manhattan.”

Nelkin told NBC News on Monday that she’d never heard of Engelhardt, but that Allen might have been seeing other women during that time period “doesn’t surprise me.”

Like Engelhardt, Nelkin remembers her relationship with Allen — whom she said she is still close friends with — warmly.

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“The time Woody and I spent together was wonderful and memorable. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t want either of my daughters to date someone 24 years their senior,” she said.

Engelhardt did not respond to a request for comment on the THR story.

Christina Engelhardt attends the 2006 Beverly Hills Film Festival - Opening Night - After Party Hosted by LA Confidental Magazine at Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, California.Michael Bezjian / WireImage/Getty Images file

Engelhardt told the magazine she was already working as a model when she caught sight of Allen in famed writers’ hangout Elaine’s — a New York City bar and restaurant — in 1976. She said she dropped him a note at his table with her phone number that read, “Since you’ve signed enough autographs, here’s mine!”

She said he called her soon after and invited her to his Fifth Avenue penthouse, and they became physically intimate weeks later. She said he never asked her her age, but was aware she was still in high school.

Engelhardt said Allen kept their relationship quiet by always having her over to his apartment and never taking her out. She said she had no problem with him calling the shots.

"I was a pleaser, agreeable," she said. "Knowing he was a director, I didn't argue. I was coming from a place of devotion."

In the THR interview, Engelhardt said she believes Hemingway’s “Tracy” character is based on a composite of women, but one of them was her. She also said she’d had no advance warning about what the movie was about.

"I cried through most of the movie, the dawning of realization slowly settling in as my greatest fears crept to the surface," she wrote in a memoir manuscript she shared with the magazine. "How was our partnership not something more than just a fling? We had shared such a special bond right from the start, something magical, and now here was his interpretation of me and us on the big screen for all to see in black-and-white. How could he deconstruct my personality and our life together as if it were just some fictional creation for art house fatheads to pore over?"

She said that when she next saw Allen, she told him she saw a lot of similarities between Hemingway's character and her. "I thought you would," she said he responded.

"That was it," she wrote in her manuscript. "That was all I would ever get out of him about the film, and looking back now, I am so angry with myself for not being stronger."

She said she eventually left Allen and New York.

"I thought I was special, and then I realized he's a big person and he's got a big life — I'm in his life," she said. "It's a rainbow with many colors, and I'm one of them."

And while she has warm memories of their time together, she said she was upset after finding out about Allen's relationship with Farrow's much-younger adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn.

"I felt sorry for Mia," she told the magazine. "I thought, 'Didn't Woody have enough 'extra,' with or without her, that the last thing he had to do was to go for something that was totally hers?'

"It was total disrespect," she said.

Allen and Previn have been married for 21 years.